How Do I Become a Medical Assistant?

Learn more about how to achieve your career goals in this essential healthcare role

Are you a team player? Are you a people-oriented person who’s always looking for ways to lend a helping hand? Do you like science and health-related topics? Do you see yourself working a hands-on, fast-paced, diverse job? If so, you may want to consider becoming a medical assistant.

A medical assistant is an integral member of a healthcare team. Some tasks you will be responsible for include working directly with patients, assisting doctors with patient procedures, and laboratory tests. As a medical assistant, you can work in such settings as doctors’ offices, clinics, and hospitals.

A high-school diploma or GED is required to enroll in a medical assistant program, which often can be completed in one to two years. As you weigh your choices, be sure to look for schools that are accredited. Learn more about our medical assistant program to see if this career path might be the right fit for you.

Once enrolled in a program you will be expected to:

  • Attend classes. Some of your classes may be online while others will be held in a classroom, or maybe a hybrid of the two. You will study clinical topics such as physiology, anatomy, phlebotomy, and how to perform an EKG. You will also learn about HIPAA Standards, patient rights and medical records privacy, medical law and ethics, and billing procedures.
  • Complete hands-on training and practice using equipment in a simulated situation in a classroom laboratory.
  • Complete an externship in a clinical setting. This will allow you to practice what you’ve learned in the classroom and gain vital experience in a real-world setting.

These three areas will provide you with a comprehensive education and arm you with the knowledge you need to get started in your career.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that job opportunities for medical assistants will grow by 23% between 2014 and 2024, which is “much faster than average.” According to its web site, as the baby boomer generation ages, it will increase demand for services. Physicians’ offices will need to meet this demand by hiring more assistants to help their practices run smoothly and efficiently.

If you take your studies seriously while in your program and then are dedicated to providing the best possible care and service once you find a job, you will be on your way to a dynamic career as a medical assistant.

This article is part of the weekly blog of the American College for Medical Careers in Orlando, FL. For more about all of our various professional training programs, visit us online.